The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday debunked the rumour that it had reached a conclusion on which part of the country its next presidential candidate would come from.
PDP alleged that politicians in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who had become jittery of its rising political fortunes were at work in planting seeds of disunity among its members.
At a press conference yesterday in Abuja presided over by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States were its main priorities at the moment.
According to Ologbondiyan, those “behind the speculation are political terrorists whose plan is to mislead the public and cause disaffection within the ranks of our party with the hope of using such fabrications to further their own selfish political ambitions.”
The opposition PDP also said it would not stop any of its members from taking steps toward realising their political ambitions.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our party is yet to discuss the 2023 presidential election, overtly or covertly, at any time whatsoever.
“If anything, the PDP is currently working with Nigerians on how to win the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states and will not be distracted by individuals who found themselves operating in the highest offices of the land but are failing in governance.” the party stressed.
“As a party, we are also working with our state governors and legislators across the country as they work hard, in line with the manifesto of our party, to improve on the welfare and development of Nigerians.”
Unconfirmed reports published in some national dailies on Sunday had claimed that critical stakeholders had reached conclusion to retain the presidential and vice-presidential tickets of the PDP in the North East and South East.
According to the report, which attracted a swift reaction from the NWC, the arrangement was in furtherance to the desire to allow the two zones which have not produced the president in the past opportunity to do so.
But when The Guardian made contacts with some PDP leaders, it was revealed that the matter of zoning was one which many political leaders would want to stay away from until some governorship elections were over.
It was also learned that the decision on the zoning of the presidency could affect the election of the next national chairman and national officers of the PDP.
“The matter is one that involves serious political balancing. First, before you can make a decision on which zone would produce the president for the party, the matter of national officers of the party has to be addressed. You know that there are two regions in the country and if one produces the national chairman, the other would produce the presidential flag bearer. So it is not as simple as being speculated,” he explained.
On the issue of alleged division within the ranks of PDP governors, which Ologbondiyan dismissed as untrue, it was learned that some governors whose political interests fell along similar circumstances had been closer together even before the 2019 election.
The presidential ambition of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State received serious support from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State before the October 2018 primary election of the PDP in Port Harcourt.
However, the PDP NWC has rejected speculation that the PDP governors are now sharply divided along the lines of second term governors and Wike’s camp.
Ologbondiyan said: “PDP governors are not divided along any lines of ambition towards 2023, neither is there any plot to stop the ambition of any of our members.
“Moreover, it is also imperative to counsel, without any equivocation, that enemies of our party, who feel threatened by the rising profile of Governor Wike should have a rethink on their incessant attacks on him.”
The PDP said it appreciated the contribution of Wike, as well as all its other governors, to the growth of the party and urge all members and supporters to “ignore those seeking to cause disaffection in our ranks.”